Human Resources or Politics: Framing the Problem of Appointing Managers in an Organizational Democracy

Victor Jay Friedman, Raanan Lipshitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Problem framing is the setting of a problem within a cognitive context that delineates its components and imposes upon them a particular organization and meaning. Although organizational effectiveness has been attributed to the ability of people to skillfully frame and reframe situations, little empirical research has been done on the ways in which organizational members actually frame real organizational problems. This study tests two hypotheses about how members of the Israeli kibbutz frame the problem of appointing managers: (a) kibbutz members tend to perceive the problem's causes, its implications, and the desired solutions either through a human resource frame or through a political frame, and (b) a member's particular way of framing the problem is related to social status groupings within the kibbutz. These hypotheses were tested through a questionnaire administered to 114 kibbutz members from four status levels. The hypothesis that there are two distinct frames was confirmed. The hypothesis that framing is related to social status was only partially confirmed because subjects from all status levels preferred the political framing of solutions. The study concludes that the framing of causes may be loosely connected with the framing of desired solutions. The implications of framing for addressing the problem of appointing managers in an organizational democracy are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-457
Number of pages20
JournalThe Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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